Who we are

Responding to Hate

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The tragic events last week in Charlottesville, Virginia stand as a reminder that the actions of some of us express staunch opposition to what we might call Good.   Steve Tanner, writing under the umbrella of 500 Pens: an anti-hate news project, offers an annotated list of thoughtful actions we might take when confronting hate in EveryDayLife.  In Mr. Tanner’s own words:

By arming ourselves with a solid understanding of best practices, we can all be ready to respond properly — and safely — when acts of hate unfold before our eyes. Every situation is unique, but the following list is meant to serve as a guide for how to best respond to acts of hatred and bigotry.  ~Steve Tanner 

His brief list of suggestions includes the following.

  • Draw Attention Away From Hateful Protests and Demonstrations
  • Do Not Engage with the Attackers
  • Focus on Protecting the Attacked Person
  • Alert the Police and Other Authorities When Appropriate
  • Prepare in Advance

Food for thought:  Consider the principle of the “golden rule” which appears in some form in almost all major religions and which forms the basis of Good to which this blog often refers.  Does a “hate stance” espoused by a group seeking to exclude others fall within the definition of a golden rule-type Good?  (Do not answer too quickly.  This so-called golden rule is not the same as “live and let live”.)

For example, a white supremacist might be perfectly willing to live in peace as long as non-white folks (and in some cases Jews) live elsewhere.  While some hate groups essentially preach genocide, others simply do not want to have to deal with others they do not considers to be “us”.  Is this a non-Good stance?  What are the criteria for Good?  How can we effectively express Good—treating others as we wish to be treated—in a pluralistic society? Perhaps the deeper question is this: What are the requirements for a pluralistic society sustaining itself within the idea of Good? What does freedom look like in such a context?


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Are We Prepared?

Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.      ~ Adyashanti


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Naomi Klein: “The worst is yet to come!”

What happens when disaster strikes?  What do we do when all normalcy ceases?  To whom do we turn when events like the recent Manchester bombing, the Paris attack or events like those on the morning of September 11th, 2001 in New York occur?  In her new book, No is Not Enough, activist and author Naomi Klein encourages us to be prepared for such disasters—which she calls “shock” events—not so much for the event itself but for likely actions by the U.S. government in the wake of these occurrences.

In the video below, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! interviews Naomi Klein about her book Naomi Klein Interview.PNGand the general proposal that in the wake of a cataclysmic event, the U.S. government is likely to invoke a series of actions designed to tighten control of the general public.  Under the guise of national security relative to a shock event, the government is likely to suspending civil liberties, human rights and the right to privacy.  (Part 2 of the interview begins at approximately the 2:20 minute mark and lasts about 15 minutes).  In addition to the usual question and answer format, the interview presents a video within the video.  In the internal video, produced by the Intercept, Naomi describes a five step preparedness toolkit. She urges us to anticipate an inevitable crises, at which time we need to be prepared to mobilize rather than comply with the government’s attempts to  contain us—the keep us in our homes, for instance, “for our own safety”.  We need to be mindful of the history of the previous U.S. government’s uncharacteristically freedom-destroying responses such as internment of Japanese-Americans during WWI, deportation of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the early 1930’s and abandonment of freed slaves in the wake of the Civil War. (more…)

Summer Plans for the Tea Man

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We introduced Guisepe Spadafora, the Tea Man, several months ago.  Guisepe and his traveling Tea Bus continue to spread hope, to lend a hand and to spur community organization in several western U.S. states.  If you are not familiar with his work, take a look at his website or the videos and news coverage of his endeavor (which has been on-going for more than a decade!).

Guisepe is putting together his plans for summer 2017 and would like our input as noted below.

  • I want to know where we should visit, whom we should see, and where we should serve tea.
  • Second, I am looking for a place to call home base for the summer in Colorado. Where can Edna, myself, and Ally plug into that wants good company, a handy man, and a community organizer?
  • Thirdly, I am looking for a good project or two to plug into for a month or two. I would love to help fix or build anything, especially if it has to do with small-scale, mobile, off-grid, low-cost, DIY, eco-friendly, and reclaimed projects.

Guisepe is the kind of person who infuses the phrase “we, the people” with real, tangible meaning.  Thank you, Guisepe!

If you really want to help us become Us, explore Guisepe’s story.  Take it as a model of personal initiative in the name of us all.  If nothing else, you might simply find the inspiration that sparks an idea of change for yourself.

 

Locally Green

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“Let’s get together and make the world a better place!”  We often hear such sentiments.  Sometimes we even hear ourselves uttering these words.  As often as not they are just words, but some folks infuse their words with purpose and follow-through.  The people associated with Square Roots Grow just might be some of those people.

Launched in August 2016 by co-founders Tobias Peggs and Kimbal Musk (brother of entrepreneur Elon Musk), Square Roots Grow describes itself as representing “an urban farming accelerator powered by human ingenuity, technology, and most importantly a deep love for local, real food.”  Eh…OK…So what is it—really?  Well, can you image ten, two-acre farms in Brooklyn, NY—in a parking lot no less?  CEO Tobias Peggs describes the plan.

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An Interview with Noam Chomsky

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In a 70-minute Democracy Now! interview with linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, Mr. Chomsky addresses a wide range of topics, including the current U.S. presidential administration’s tactics, healthcare, Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, as well as issues related to North Korea, China, Syria, and Israel.

Mr. Chomsky offers what, for some, will seem startling statements regarding the rise of neo-liberalism during the late 70’s.  While the term “liberalism” often connotes “openness” and “freedom”, the interests of advocates of neo-liberalism (perhaps better referred to as laissez-faire economic liberalism) come into conflict with the very notion of democracy—that is, free participation of the general public in its own governance.

On many social issues, proponents of this form of liberalism might be at odds with what many might call right wing or conservative.  However, these neo-liberal factions began to see open democracy as “out of control”, posing a “threat” to the achievement of a neo-liberal agenda.  According to Mr. Chomsky, these socio-political elements called for stronger indoctrination in neo-liberal ideas through educational institutions, a more heavy handed control of mass media and the overall pacification of the general public.

Along the way, Mr. Chomsky also touches on topics such as (1) why Americans are led to believe Iran poses the greatest threat to world peace while world opinion sees the U.S. as the true threat, (2) the surprising increase in mortality among white Americans (particularly men, due to diseases of despair), and (3) the disparity between actual U.S. governmental policies and the well-being of middle and lower income portions of the American electorate.

Agree with him or not, as always, Mr. Chomsky offers interesting and provocative ideas worth considering.


Noam Chomsky is a US political theorist and activist, and institute professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). For decades, Mr. Chomsky has remained a staunch critic of American foreign policy, the neo-liberal advocacy of globalism, the empire-building hegemony of the United States and the manufacture of public consensus by the so-called mainstream media (MSM).

Noam Chomsky’s website

The full collection of Mr. Chomsky’s appearances on DemocracyNow!